The tens of thousands of faithful swamping the Vatican Wednesday night were at first stunned, then delighted, at the selection of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as the new pope, a leading church expert said.
“It was absolutely silent in the square when they announced the name. It was kind of a shock value afterwards,’’ Sean-Patrick Lovett, director of Vatican Radio’s English language department, told Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show.’’
“People were confused, they thought perhaps it was an Italian … [but] the need is for someone outside of the Vatican, the Italian area, and to go to South America it makes a very strong statement about where the church is headed.’’
Lovett said even though there had been talk of the conclave choosing a younger pope, the main focus was really choosing an appropriate candidate.
“Someone who’s squeaky clean, someone who’s so transparent that you hold them up to the light you can see right through him. You want somebody who is simple, who is humble, who is down to earth,’’ he said.
And Francis revealed just how humble he was from the first moment he revealed himself, according to Lovett.
“There were 100,000 people in that square and he’s bowing down and asking us to pray for him,’’ he said.
Bergoglio’s choice of the name Francis “is a symbol of his program, or his philosophy of his vision,’’ Lovett explained.
“Just as Benedict chose the name Benedict because he wanted to model himself on the monk … Francis conjures up images of a simple friar in kind of sack cloth and ashes going around in sandals and helping the poor. It’s a very powerful choice.’’
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